It isn’t like I’ve accomplished much in the side country or back country for that matter, in my four seasons of snowboarding. But there are a few boot packs back home that make my heart skip a beat. There is something about a hike, a session of heavy breathing, hauling a board on your back up terrain as steep as stairs. When sustained for an elevation gain that seemed just out of reach when you began, a level of catharsis can be reached unlike anything else in life. You put your head down, you push and climb, you sweat it out, and after you reach the top, strap in and teeter on the crest of the drop. You collect your reward. If your lucky enough to have company, you bond with your partner in a very special way. As Louis said after our run behind Captains, on our hike out following the cat track, “here’s to the Mongolians for inventing skiing”, I second that.
Check out Collinsrocks Media’s latest contribution on The Crankery- Everybody’s Bike Shop blog!
After a gorgeous paddling weekend at Little Fawn, I am amped for The 2nd Hand Soldiers to play at Elk Lodge at the beginning of June. For me, staying on the far south side of the lake and then paddling to the lodge for music or a coke is the essence of poor woman’s paradise. Best of all is the hidden in let at Little Fawn. At first, when we looked at the water, we thought it was an isolated pond previously connected to Elk Lake, but it was the vantage that made it look singular. Walking the perimeter we realized it did indeed connect to the larger water way. I could imagine this protected cove would be a fantastic place to bring novice water enthusiasts as the wind is negligible and the water calm. Mossies (mosquitoes) were out in full force and I am hoping the gun shot spattering of red dots across my back will soon fade.
Visiting James Cant ranch in the early morning, before the Thomas Condon Visitor Center across the street was open, was like traveling back in time. The historic site spans the the early homestead years of Oregon to the late 1970’s and includes an agricultural background in cattle ranching, sheep herding, and even development of an orchard.
Deterioration seems to be a re-occurring theme visiting rural sites across Oregon this spring. First in Hillsboro and Forest Grove in Washington County, now in Richmond a simultaneously living and ghost town in Eastern, Oregon. I was under the impression that the location was advertised as a ghost town and thus assumed they welcomed visitors- if anyone still lived there at all. Driving up a gently graded road, approaching a spattering of manufactured homes with vehicles, dogs, and plastic play equipment decorating the lawn, it became obvious that we were visiting a currently inhabited town. To access the ruins we spied in the distance between trees and fence posts, we parked beside the main road, and walked along two parallel ruts, dense with overgrowth. The photos show what we found. It is difficult to imagine how much material is wasting away in other corners of Oregon, the US, the world, if this much is falling apart in the tinny, forgotten town of Richmond.
The story of the John Day National Monument begins around 45 million years ago, 20 million years after the dinosaur extinction. With 90% of dinosaur species vanished, resources were abundant leaving many niches for mammals to overtake. Rocks within the John Day Formation tell the dramatic tale of a 40 million year reign (from 45-5 million years ago) were a diversity of mammal species rose and fell with rapidly fluxing climate changes. Perhaps most compelling, finding fossils of animals not traditionally thought of as native to Oregon… Exotics like horses, elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, and camels. Looking over the paleosols and badlands it is difficult to contemplate how the terrain might have looked at various points in the last 45 million years. Grasslands, swamps, deserts, ice sheets, and jungles all coalesced to create this landscape in Central Oregon’s backyard.
This my 10 year anniversary since first visiting the monument as a sophomore in college, the trip which culminated in a major change to geology, I understand what drove Thomas Condon to document these hills and all they contain.
Please join Krystal Marie Collins of collinsrocks media for a show opening, April 9th, 7pm, The Plankery in Bend, OR, “free refills”. The show is a photo commentary on the seasonal snow cache which Bachelor receives and shares with snow goers and high desert eco-systems. We hope you’ll bring lots of dialog about the adventures you have been having this winter! You might even have a chance to share on while the camera is rolling.
For all the times I’v ridden in a car on Cascade Lakes HWY, one would think I’d seen all there is to see… Not so.
Beginning the days adventure at Wanoga, with a final destination of lunch at Elk Lake Lodge for there last day of winter operations, I reluctantly boarded my sled. The sport of snowmobiling had never much been on my radar prior to this afternoons’ excursion. Ignition engaged and throttle revved, the adventure began. I quickly realized I was atop a cross between a motorcycle and a riding lawn mower on steroids. Perhaps the most obvious over sight, realized when I had a chance to sit in the drivers seat, was the lack of power steering.
Crossing north under the HWY and circumnavigating a quadrant of Tumalo Butte with Bachelor to the south, it was suddenly obvious we were on the HWY, the potion blocked off in the winter, accept to snowmobiles. Traveling across what once was paved of red cinders (circa the olden days) and what currently resembled a fluffy blanket of clouds, the snow enveloped 95% of my field of view. Where once I had paddled on water ways, now snow, where once I had walked among the grassland, shrubs, and pine, now snow, and where once jagged cliff edges lept into the horizon and threatened to rip the sky, now gentle slopes of white colored all. Perhaps most impressive, the complete disappearance of Hosmer below the winter cover.
Growing up in my neighborhood, middle daughter to a lower-middle class blue collar family, appreciating winter meant praying for a snow so one might miss school. One rarely saw enough to constitute a trip down a hill on a cookie sheet and didn’t dare imagine ever making it to Hood for an actual ski trip. Hood, though a stones throw from Portland, for folks in my neighborhood was our of reach in terms of distance and class.
Sitting behind my driver, nearing the end of our total 47 mile jaunt, I felt like a severely jostled rag doll. Though I found it increasingly difficult to hold on, behind my full face helmet, the little girl inside from my old neighborhood snuck out, and I beamed with the tier of a truly epic day. I remember now why I named my winter show, opening April 9th (this Wednesday), 7pm, at The Plankery “free refills”. I found yet another way that our Central Oregon seasonal snow cache fills me up. Please attend the opening and share with the crowd what fills you up in the winter…